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Discovery

The Water Dance

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Illustration of sulfur dioxide molecules forming weak bonds with water molecules.

Geraldine Richmond and her team at the University of Oregon were surprised to find that molecules of sulfur dioxide (SO2) in the atmosphere tend to form a weak bond with water molecules at the surface of the liquid before finally submerging, whereas carbon dioxide (CO2) molecules dive right in.

"This is the first time that anyone has ever measured, with this level of molecular detail, a gas-surface complex at the surface of liquid water," Richmond said. "We are now investigating a whole series of important environmental gases, ions and solutes at the water surface."

Credit: Nicolle Rager-Fuller


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Photo of Apratim Dhar at the FReI instrument.

Apratim Dhar at the FReI instrument, which is used to study interaction of proteins with solvation water during protein folding in cells.

Credit: Apratim Dhar


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